- Art historian Tessel Bauduin obtained her doctorate on 20 December 2012 at the University of Amsterdam on The occultation of Surrealism: a Study of the Relationship between Bretonian Surrealism and Western Esotericism. One of her main conclusions states that although Surrealism was 'influenced' by western esotercism, it didn't mean that artists like André Breton were 'followers' of a particular current. According to Bauduin they did take an interest in esoteric ideas, but only used certain concepts and practises as a way to tap into the creative subconscious and create works of art.

- Anaïs Maes defended her dissertation La franc-maçonnerie et la construction d'indentités nationales en Belgique (long XIXe siècle) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on 9 May 2012. The dissertation looks at the relation between freemasonry and nationalism. How did freemasons react to the rise of nationalistic sentiment at the beginning of the 19th century and the creation of the Belgian state? Maes looked for answers in the documents which got into Russian hands after WWII and stayed there for more than half a century.For a balanced answer she studied both masonic and non masonic sources from these archives.


Upcoming Conferences

- The organization of the upcoming international conference Ways of Gnosis: Mystical and esoteric traditions from Antiquity to the present time (10-13 April 2013) has circulated a call for papers. This  event is organized by the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism, in cooperation with the Institute “Russian Anthropological School” of the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow), the Research Centre for Esotericism and Mysticism at Russian Christian Academy for the Humanities (St. Petersburg), the Scientific-Educational Centre “Free Philosophical Society”, and is supported by the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). Deadline for applications is 20 February 2013, but for those who need a visum to travel to Russia, the deadline is earlier: 15 January 2013. Contact: symposium04.2013@gmail.com.

- On Wednesday 27 March 2013 the second international Student Day on the history of freemasonry will take place under the guidance of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The aims are the stimulation of knowledge on freemasonry under the participants and  the development of an international network.
Study Day organizers are: dr. Andrew Pink (UCL, UK), agpink01@gmail.com; prof. Cécile Rivauger (Université de Bordeaux, France), cecile.revauger@wanadoo.fr; prof. Jeffrey Tyssens (VUB, Belgium), jtyssens@vub.ac.be. Details from the previous Study Day in 2012 can be found here.



- Austrian researcher Eugen Semrau has published Erleuchtung und Verblendung. Einflüsse esoterischen Gedankenguts auf die Entwicklung der Wiener Moderne. The book describes the Viennese modernism in art and culture around 1900, with Vienna as the centre of the 'revolution of the mind'. The book contains chapters on the development of 'alternative thinking' in Europe, 'naional' esotericism and the relation between western esotericism, freemasonry and religion.

- John Belton's new oublication, The English Masonic Union of 1813, describes the issues and personalities involved in the bringing together of the Antients and the Moderns in 1813, in order to form the United Grand Lodge of England. Belton offers new perspectives on this important event in the history of British freemasonry.

-The exhibition Egypt in England (The Quadriga Gallery, Wellington Arch, London, 7 November 2012 until 13 January 2013) shows the cultural influence of ancient Egypt, from the Regency period to the Art Deco interiors of cinemas. The exhibition is based on a new book by Chris Elliot, which contains a chapter titled 'Freemasonry: Wisdom from the East and the Pharaohs Apron'.



- The Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, the biggest university in Spain, has opened a virtual museum on freemasonry: Museo Virtual de Historia de la Masonería. The website offers an introduction into the history of freemasonry, as well as small virtual exhibitions and links to relevant collections.

- The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (Amsterdam) is hosting the exhibition Alchemy on the Amstel - on Hermetic Medicine in the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic (15 October 2012 until 17 May 2013). In the 17th century many apothecaries not only sold medicins based on medicinal plants, but also alchemically produced medicins: the so-called Paracelsic iatrochemical remedies. More information can be found on the website.

- In 2013 the first freemasons' museum of Italy will be opened in Rome. A collection of  historical documents and objects from the Grand Lodge of Italy will be exhibited to the public. The development of the museum is the end result of the study and reorganisation of the archive of the Grand Lodge, a project which was first started in 2007.


In memoriam: Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (1953-2012)

To our great regret the OVN has learned of the passing of professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (1953-2012). He was the directeur of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (Universiteit van Exeter). Goodrick-Clarke made important contributions to the field of study, such as his research into the relation between western esotericism and fascism. The field of study is mourning a prominent scholar and beloved teacher. A beautiful in memoriam by fellow researcher Christopher Mcintosh can be found on the website van de European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), of which Goodrick-Clarke was a member.



- More and more researchers and institues are now active on social media, including The Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism. The JRFF now has its own profile page on facebook and academia.edu

- Louis Trebuchet has launched a website, which allows researchers to  upload and download digitalised sources and literature on masonic study: Masoniclib. The project aims to make as many e-books and digitalised documents as possible available for researchers (provided they are free from copyrights). The site can be searched on title, author or publication. It is also possible to place a request for a particular rare document to be uploaded.

- Simon Burrows and Mark Curran are involved in the online project The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe. This database contains all the books produced by bookseller and publisher Société Typographique de Neuchatel (STN), in the period 1769-1794. The website is an important source for bibliographical, historical and literary study, and is now freely available. The collection contains several works that are connected with freemasonry and historical figures such as Cagliostro.


Dining in Freemasons' Tavern

The book Dinners and Diners. Where and How to Dine in London from lieutenant-colonel Newnham-Davis (1899) can be read online on the website of The Dictionary of Victorian London. The chapter dedicated to the diners in Freemasons' Tavern gives a nice image of the period, and lists a menu of the diner that was served here.


New publications

- Several scholarly articles on freemasonry can be found as downloads on the French website www.revues.org (search term: franc maconnerie). [Thanks to Andrew Prescott for the suggestion!]

- James Daniel, The 4th Earl Carnarvon (1831-1890) and freemasonry in the
British Empire, PhD thesis.

- Cécile Révauger et Jacques Ch. Lemaire (ed.), Les femmes et la franc-maconnerie. Des Lumieres a nos jours, (conference du programme de recherche Le Monde magonnique, LNS, Bordeaux 3, 17-19 June 2010). Vol. 1: Les XVIIIe et XIXe siecles and Vol. 2: XXe et XXIe siecles are available. Price: € 30,-. Orders: La Pensie et les Hommes, christiane.loir[at]ulb.ac.be.

- Marscha Keith Schuchard, Emanuel Swedenborg, Secret Agent on Earth and in Heaven: Jacobites, Jews, and Freemasons in Early Modern Sweden, Leiden: Brill, 2011 (Northern World Series 55).

- Audrey Carpenter, John Theophilus Desaguliers: a Natural Philosopher, Engineer and Freemason in Newtonian England', Continuum Books, ISBN 978-1-4411-2778-5.

- Ric Berman, The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry. The Grand Architects - Political Change and the Scientific Enlightenment, 1714-1740.

- Papeles de Masoneria, vol. V, 2011, Centro Ibérico de Estudios Masónicos (CIEM). This edition  is dedicated to the relationship between Freemasonry and theatre or the dramatization of initiation ceremonies.

- Paul Richard Calderwood, Freemasonry and the press in twentieth-century Britain, PhD thesis University of London (Faculty of Arts, Goldsmiths College), London 2011.